An emotional Louisiana sanitation worker praised God profusely Monday for helping him save a 10-year-old girl from a registered sex offender who police allege abducted her a day earlier.
“I was on my trash route ... I just seen this gray car parked in the field. There was a dude who had this little 10-year-old girl. I just saved that little girl’s life bruh. Thank God bruh. They got him now. They saved that little girl thanks to two Pelican drivers,” said Pelican Waste & Debris worker Dion Merrick during a Facebook Live broadcast Monday from the scene of the rescue in St. Martin Parish.
The New Iberia Police Department said an Amber Alert was issued for the 10-year-old girl, Jalisa Lasalle, who was last seen on Sunday in the 400 block of Fulton Street in New Iberia. State police said she was in imminent danger as she was last seen getting into a gray 2012 Nissan Altima driven by Michael R. Sereal, 33. Sereal was convicted in 2006 of carnal knowledge of a juvenile and is also listed on the parish's sex offender database of New Iberia. He was also an acquaintance of one of the girl’s family members.
Merrick revealed in the Facebook Live broadcast that he was simply doing his job when “something” made him look at the field and he noticed that the car, the girl and the man appeared to match the information from the Amber Alert.
“Something told me just look. I said what that car doing ducked off in the field like that?” Merrick said.
Video contains strong language
He and his colleague Brandon Antoine quickly jumped into action to prevent Sereal from driving away and then he called 911.
“I was just doing my job and actually came across somebody that needed help. I’m teared up right now, for real. I’d had never thought [to look]. … Whoever little girl this is, you need to fall on your knees and tell God thank you. Thank you because it could have been worse. ‘Cause I’m looking at the situation, if you look at them woods and stuff, anything could have went on,” he explained. “Thank God bruh. That’s why I say that man is real. A lot of people don’t believe in Him but you [need] to start believing in Him cuz.”
He also urged parents to watch their children and for community members to call the police when they see suspicious activity.
“If you see something that’s not right call 911. Look how quick the response team was? Amber Alert went out this morning. Found her,” Merrick said.
Pelican CEO Roddie Matherne praised Merrick and his colleague in a statement to ABC News.
"We couldn’t be prouder of Dion and Brandon," Matherne said in an email. "In fact, all of our Pelican Waste team have been heroically working without fail during the pandemic quietly, professionally, and consistently serving the communities where we collect garbage and debris. They often respond in other ways while on the road. This was an exceptional thing that may very well have saved a little girl’s [life]."